To try to make a long story shorter, I have picked up many strays over the years and brought them home to keep. As time went on, we usually had at least 7 cats at once. Whenever we had the heartbreaking loss of one, it seemed another would come along within a couple of months. Coming from a long line of animal lovers, we would take it in.
This went on over the years, but it was when my dear mother became ill that things got a little out of hand. I was living with her and my father and when my dad passed, my mom took it very hard. She seemed to get dementia almost overnight and it was a very rough time, as I was very close to my mom. She required care 24/7 and I felt blessed that I could take care of her. It left little time for anything else though and it was at this time that a momma cat and her five kittens showed up in our yard.
If you’ve ever dealt with this, you know the difference between a stray and a feral cat. For those that may not have been in this situation, a stray has had a home at one time and a feral cat has never had contact with humans. You can usually get a stray cat to come to you and allow you to pet them in a fairly short time. This is not true of the feral cat and it becomes obvious which they are pretty quickly.
Trapping a feral cat takes a lot of time, something that caring for my mom left me little of. I fed the little gang and that was the best I could do at the time. I had already dealt with a feral family (a momma cat and her five kittens) several years earlier, all of which were now in the house and more domesticated. Here’s where I cut to the making the long story short…she ended up bringing around three litters in the two years I was caring for my mom. To make matters worse, another cat left her litter in my yard too and took off.
I was frankly exhausted and overwhelmed from taking care of my mom (not complaining, just the facts) and all I could do was feed the group outside and had no idea what I was going to do. Well, my mom passed away, and I finally got all the cats fixed and their shots. I had a large screened in porch built and a smaller one put in around the other side of the house. I built a tunnel that connected the two houses so they had plenty of room. I managed to get all of them into the houses and have been working with them ever since. Most of them let me pet them now, but it took a couple of years to get to this point.